BELMONT SHORES, Calif., December 7. THE University of the Pacific's Tigers and Brigham Young's Cougars were the women's and men's team champs after the splashing concluded this evening at the Speedo/U Cal Irvine Invitational here.
The meet was held at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool, site of next March's men's Pac-10 Championships (the women will be held in Federal Way, WA).
In the men's team race, UOP finished with 1383 points, more than double second-place Washington State's 671. Third was Irvine (558), fourth was University of San Diego (485) and fifth was U Cal Davis (476).
The men's race was much tighter with BYU beating UOP, defending Big West champs, 1205-1046.5. Third came Cach Bob Steele's treble-defnding NCAA DII champs Cal State Bakersfield's Road Runners (835.5) while Irvine was fourth (575) and UC-Davis fifth (547.5) and Cal Baptist sixth (541.5).
The meet marked the first time in more than two decades that Charlie Schober was not on the deck as UCI head coach. He's relinquished the coaching to former UCI All-America breaststroker Brian Pajer and taken over as the Anteaters' director of aquatics. Look for Irvine to start making waves in the Big West as Pajer is also coach of the very successful Irvine AquaZots program.
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UOP began the women's action tonight with a win in the 1650 free as Laura McDonald won handily in 16:42.88. In the 200 back, Yuuka Kikouchi, swimming unattched, was quickest to the wall in 2:01.88 with UOP's Kris Willey a close second (2:02.60). The 100 back champ, Lara Pease, also competing unattached, was third (2:03.07).
"Unattached" seemed to be the watchword on the women's side as Cortnee Adams won the 100 free in the same status (51.36). Washington State's Linda Henahan was next (51.86), along with Cal Baptist's Jessica Wild, who did an identical time..
WSU's Cougars struck gold when Jane Copland won the 200 breast (2:16.29), followed by UOP's defending Big West champ Heidi Schmidt (2:17.15) and San Diego's Ashley Swart (2:17.99).
Swart had a very good meet, collecting a No. 1 in the 200 IM, taking runner-up in the 400 medley and tonight's breaststroke medal.
The 200 fly saw Tiger Robin Errecart, last season's woman Big West Swimmer of the Year, splash to her third gold of the competition — a 2:01.87 in the 200 fly. Her other No. 1s came in the 500 free opening-night (4:53.61) and the 200 free last evening (1:49.58).
UOP (3:28.34) won the 400 free relay by more than three seconds over WSU.
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Cal Baptist's Felix (the Cat) Sutanto was the story of the meet on the men's side as he wracked up three golds. His final No. 1 came in this evening's 200 back where he won in 1:48.00 to complete a hat trick that also included the 200 IM and 100 back.
Teammate Vlasta Burda, defending NCAA DII 500-1000-1650 free champ and a key element in the Road Runners' championship streak, took his second gold with a 15:35.99 for the 1650 free.
BYU's William Betz was "best" in the 100 free (45.17) with UOP's Matt Smart — 200 free champ — next (45.35). The Cougs' Jeff Mason (45.35) tied Smart for runner-up honors.
UOP's Filip Wronski, last season's Big West male Swimmer of the Year, was dominant in the 200 breast, winning in a fast 1:59.21, his pr and a Tiger record. He won the 100 brest in 55.2.
Second in the 200 breast was former USC Pac-10 and NCAA finalist Ryo Imai (1:59.41), who apparently still harbors dreams of making Japan's Olympic team in two years.
Only one problem: with two spots available and one likely to be occupied by the event's current world record-holder, Imai has his work cut out for him.
(But whoever heard of somebody named Brain Goodell in 1975? A year later the former Mission Viejo and UCLA great was a double gold-medalist and double world record-setter (400-1500 frees] at Montreal. For that matter, who would have bet on Megan Quann winning the 100 breast gold at Sydney without ever having made a U.S. Nationals team — or won a U.S. Nationals title — before 2000?)
Bakersfield's Jacob Frairie won the 200 fly (1:49.01) to become the final men's individual champ with BYU's Diogo Yabe (1:49.16) second.
BYU put an exclamation point to its men's team title with a 2:59.96 400 free relay win.
– Bill Bell.